Designing safe access roads is an essential part of any construction project, but this is especially true when working in the oil and gas industry.
In most cases, oilfield construction requires large-scale ground support to ensure the safety of the environment and the workers on site, which drives up operating and maintenance costs if not designed properly.
But despite the complexities of mine haul road design, there are a few measures you can take to streamline the effectiveness of your project and save money on potentially heavy maintenance and repair fees later down the line.
What are haul roads used for?
Just like in any other construction project, haul roads are used to safely transport materials and personnel members to the job site when main roads aren’t an option.
These access roads are not only essential for setting up a new oilfield construction project, but they also help maintain smooth daily operations for ongoing mining or drilling projects.
Without them, you face the risk of transporting hazardous materials across unstable terrain, which can pose a serious threat to the natural environment as well as the individuals working near the site.
How are they different from other access roads?
While haul roads are similar to traditional access roads in many ways, there are some key differences that set them apart and can make them more challenging to construct safely.
Most new construction sites aren’t easily accessible from main roads, which is why access roads are so crucial to the success of your project.
But with oilfield construction sites, you’re more likely to be dealing with a location that is far away from the beaten path, especially for jobs where mining or drilling are taking place.
This can make it even more difficult to adequately create a safe passage for haul trucks and other large vehicles that aren’t equipped to travel across rough terrain.
Another major difference between haul roads and other access roads is the type of vehicles that need to have access to your site.
Typically, haul trucks used in the oil and gas industry are significantly larger than other construction vehicles and will extra ground stability measures to ensure they can safely travel to and from the site.
This means you’ll need extended road widths and extra stopping distance to give plenty of room for all necessary equipment.
Volume Of Workers
It’s no surprise that construction sites employ many people, but drilling and mining sites often include a wide range of jobs that involve lots of people commuting to and from the site at the same time.
When this happens, it can place added stress on temporary access roads and lead to potential traffic jams that can hold up operations at your oilfield. That’s why it’s important to develop a mine haul road design that appropriately accounts for the number of workers who will be on-site each day.
What safety concerns do haul roads bring?
It’s no secret that construction sites can be a dangerous places and oilfield construction is no different.
To ensure the safety of your site, you’ll need to weigh these potential safety hazards before you even begin the building process.
Harsh Weather Conditions
Inclement weather can spell disaster for all types of construction sites, especially if you’re using temporary haul roads.
So, it’s important to take extensive ground stabilization measures that can help combat erosion due to rain, wind, and other harsh weather conditions, so that any heavy haul trucks can safely travel year-round.
Whether you’re working on a new mine haul road design or updating an existing site, you’ll need to calculate the load requirements for your road to ensure that the materials you use are able to withstand its weight.
In most cases, regular dirt or gravel roads do not provide enough load support on their own, and can lead to cracking, breaking, or horizontal curves forming along your pathways, throwing heavy machinery off balance.
Toxic Material Exposure
Oil and mining construction sites don’t just house potentially toxic materials, they also involve underground pipes that can burst if not properly cared for.
Without taking these hazards into account, you risk exposing both your workers and the surrounding area to life-threatening materials, as well as costing yourself a fortune in fines, repair fees, and other legal liabilities.
How to create a mine haul road design?
Now that you understand the requirements for oilfield road construction, you can start taking the necessary steps toward building a secure haul road that your team will be able to use over the long term.
Phase 1) Clear & Excavate The Area
To avoid damaging any underlying pipework, it’s important to carefully clear your work area and remove any trees, bushes, or other debris that could get in the way of your road.
After that, you can start leveling and excavating the ground, making way for the stabilization tools you’ll need to create secure road surfaces.
Phase 2) Creating A Clear Path
Before you lay your foundation, you’ll need to make sure that you have more than enough space for the haul trucks that will be traveling your road.
This means taking extra time to evaluate road widths, load support needs, and any other special factors that could impact your design.
Phase 3) Upgrading Your Ground Stabilization
Combating a dangerous horizontal curve in your road surface means providing adequate ground stabilization measures that help fight ground erosion, weight damage, and other side effects from long-term usage.
While natural materials like dirt and gravel are relatively cheap, they provide little support for heavy-duty vehicles.
That’s why products like GeoCell panels are critical to the success of oilfield construction roads, allowing you to seamlessly stabilize your road surfaces, drain excess moisture from the ground, and stand up against hefty weight loads.
Where can you find the materials you need?
Starting a new oilfield road construction project from scratch doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience.
At BaseCore, we specialize in helping the oil and gas industry meet the road requirements for safe, secure haul roads at an affordable price, and our team is here to support you every step of the way.
Connect with our team to learn more about our innovative Geocell temporary access roads today.